Blair `incident' earns six-week ban
Wednesday 14 December 1994
The move followed the discovery of Andrew Hull, a research assistant to David Atkinson, Tory MP for Bournemouth, with another unnamed researcher and a guest in Tony Blair's office about 7.30pm.
Labour MPs said yesterday that they feared the three may have been there seeking confidential information, but Miss Boothroyd told the Commons in a statement that there had been "no malice involved" and she blamed the incident on an "excess of seasonal spirit and a mischievous walk-about".
In a Commons statement, Miss Boothroyd said that the police had investigated the matter and were satisfied that nothing had been taken or disturbed. "Nevertheless, it must be understood that it is a privilege to work in and to have access to the Palace of Westminster. I do not expect that privilege to be abused. I have therefore given instructions that the researchers concerned should have their passes withdrawn with immediate effects and until 1 February."
Mr Atkinson said that "in the light of the circumstances" the Speaker's action was "inevitable". Whether Mr Hull would continue in his employ was "a matter I have to consider", although he added: "if the Speaker regards it as sufficient punishment, I wi l l probably follow the Speaker's lead ..."
Some Labour MPs remain suspicious about the incident, not least because of the explantion Mr Hull has offered. After drinking in the sports and social club bar, Mr Hull has said that he and his companions got lost and "ended up wandering into [Mr Blair's] office".
Dale Campbell-Savours, MP for Workington, said many of his colleagues did not find it credible that three people "should walk the length of the Palace of Westminster and just happen to enter into Mr Blair's office".
He went on:"We believe that their motive was deliberate: that was, to enter, knowing they had no right to enter that office, and to do whatever they set out to do". He asked the Speaker to name Mr Hull's companions.
Max Madden, MP for Bradford West, protested that "virtually any Tom, Dick, or Harry can be issued with a pass to this place", while David Winnick, MP for Walsall North, said there was a feeling on the Labour benches that this was "a sort of minor `Westminstergate' - a deliberate attempt to find out information".
Miss Boothroyd insisted that she had made extensive inquiries. "I am totally satisfied no malice was intended."
In the wake of the incident, police have suggested changes to the security arrangements at the Opposition leader's office, while, earlier yesterday, Mr Blair himself said that it was unclear whether the incident had any significance.
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Sarah Vine on Jack Monroe being a lesbian mother: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
Michael Brown shooting: Ten things we know – or know better – now the Ferguson grand jury's work is over
Ferguson riots: The most powerful images to emerge from protests over Michael Brown killing
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...